Taylor and Luper talk it out
The students were allowed to ask about anything that interested them.
Some of the questions were mundane. Some were excellent.
Here is an overview of what I thought were the best pieces of information gleaned:
- LUPER on the way this staff recruits:
``We've been unique and different. We actually used limousines. That was our way, our head coach's way, of emphasizing the state of Alabama. We had to let people know that our coaching staff is here and we'll be out and about. It's unprecedented in college football. Generally, coaches go in different directions. We wanted to saturate the state of Alabama. We accomplished our goal."
- TAYLOR on how Auburn plans to differentiate itself from Alabama in recruiting:
``A lot of people make mistakes in thinking it's us versus Alabama. That wasn't the goal. Our goal was to keep other schools from coming into this state and taking the best players. Look at JaMarcus Russell. He left Alabama, went to LSU and they won a national championship.
Patrick White leaves and goes to West Virginia. He put them on the map.
Our responsibility is that we take care of the state of Alabama. We'll outwork them -- no matter who it is."
- TAYLOR on the lifestyle of an Auburn assistant:
If I wear my hat backward and walk into Wal-Mart, it's going to be a three-hour trip. It should be a 30-minute trip. My kids remind me of that all the time. At most places, they don't recognize the assistants; it's just the head coach. At Auburn, it's different.
- LUPER on changes already made to the program:
"We are developing the culture of our football team. From A to Z. What are they like when they walk across the campus? What are they like when they walk in the building? Will they take their hats off? Will they say `yes sir' and `yes ma'am'? Do they take their earrings off? Will they pull their pants up? Everything. To develop that culture adequately takes a couple years."
- TAYLOR on the role of football in his life:
``It's been more than a career for me. My father died when I was 12 years old. The men in my life have been coaches. I knew I wanted to coach when I was 13 years old. Those men brought me into their homes, took care of me, treated me like family. The funny thing is -- most of them weren't the same color as me and none of them had the same last name as me.
All they ever asked from me was for me to do my very best."
- TAYLOR on why he named a son Star:
``for the side of the helmet of the Dallas Cowboys."
- TAYLOR answering this question: "What was your reaction to the recruit who called out Nick Saban during Big Cat Weekend?"
(**HABOTN point of information: Player in question is TB Lache Seastrunk.)
``He's a 17 year old kid. We're not allowed to comment on their exact names and stuff, but he's a 17-year-old kid. We had to help him and make him understand why that was such a significant deal. He doesn't know. You can't be held accountable for something that you don't know.
Our job is to teach those guys, once they get here, between right and wrong. It's happened to me before. I wouldn't not have taken it personally. I would have considered the source."
- TAYLOR on Alabama's recent NCAA troubles:
(**HABOTN point of information: Luper urged Taylor to no comment this one. Taylor couldn't help himself.)
I should give a no comment this, but I'll tell you this: I've got to mow my own grass. I can't tell you what's happening at another school. We'll learn from this, too. Even In life, you have to learn from other people's mistakes. I don't know the scenario or situation on how it got to be what it was, but I know we'll make sure we're not in that same scenario.
Anytime something happens that may affect our players, we take Cliff's Notes. We have a team meeting and we go over it -- whether it's a player getting arrested at another school or a student who may have gotten hurt with a bad choice.
We let them know: This could easily be you."